Seven ways to celebrate 7 days of Sukkot
An array of special events for the week-long harvest celebration include a bird watcher's paradise and a presidential open house.
The seven-day festival of Sukkot - beginning Sunday at sundown - offers an array of special events for tourists and residents alike. Below are Anglo File's "7 ways to celebrate 7 days":
The Priestly Blessing: More than 200,000 worshippers are expected to attend the mass prayer service at the Western Wall on October 3 at 9 A.M., when hundreds of priestly descendants will raise their arms amidst a sea of white prayer shawls and a green forest of palm branches while reciting aloud three verses from the Book of Numbers.
Bird Watcher's Paradise: The Hula Valley in the north is the ultimate stopover site for hundreds of species of birds as they migrate south for winter. The site, which includes a park, lake and trails, will be open daily from 6:30 A.M. to 5 P.M. Its website is www.agamon-hula.co.il
Presidential Open House: President Shimon Peres will greet visitors at the annual open house at the President's Residence on the morning of October 3 from 9 A.M. to noon. Entrance to the open house is free. Visitors must present either an Israeli ID card or a passport. The President's Residence is located on Hanasi Street in Jerusalem's Talbieh neighborhood.
Nature Hikes: Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund will lead free walks and tours in parks and along nature paths throughout the country. Activities will also include a storyteller's festival, an olive harvest, a night hike and a "health" walk. Sukkahs will be stationed at each of the sites. For details, visit www.kkl.org.il/eng/
The Jerusalem March: This ceremonial afternoon march, to be held October 4 with bands and floats, is expected to draw up to 10,000 participants from 100 countries, coinciding with the Christian observance of the Feast of Tabernacles. Simultaneous events for families and children will take place in Sacher Park.
Safra Square Sukkah: Located in downtown Jerusalem, the more than 1,000-square-meter sukkah is considered Israel's largest. It will feature activities for children and a number of performances. Visitors to the sukkah will have an opportunity to meet Mayor Nir Barkat at a reception on October 3 from 5-7 P.M.
Festivals: From the Negev to the north, Israel is replete with festivals. Jerusalem and environs: Abu Gosh Music Festival, featuring classical music in church settings (www.agfestival.co.il/ ); Tel Aviv (www.tel-aviv.gov.il/eng/ ): Cycling, Out-of-the Box, Boydem Art, and ICON Science Fiction and Fantasy Festival at the Cinemateque; Galilee, Haifa and the north: Hot air balloon festivals in the Gilboa region and in Ma'ayan Harod National Park in the Jezreel Valley; Israeli Fringe Theatre in Acre (www.accofestival.co.il/english/ ); Tamar Music Festival (www.dead-sea-wonder-of-nature.com ) and the the Haifa Film Festival (www.haifaff.co.il/ ).